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Biscuit

Partner incorrectly signals runner back

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14u, USSSA rules (modified OBR), R1, I'm working the bases in a two man crew. R1 steals on the pitch, and reaches with no throw. It was a foul tip, and someone from beyond the fence says something to the effect of, that's a foul tip, runner has to go back. I'm gonna give my partner the benefit of the doubt and assume he just got discombobulated or something, but he points to first, and in response, R1 starts walking back. As soon as he does, I point to second and say "stay there, stay there". I'm pretty sure that's the wrong thing to do, but I'm not sure if I should've let him go back, or killed the play. Thoughts? 

After the play, the same person goes "so we're making stuff up now, huh?". Oh how fun the fence can be.

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You did it right. I'd call time and tell her to stay on 2B. I'll then talk to my partner and see why he did it.

By doing so, you might find he had a different reason for doing so (maybe he called time before the pitch). If not, you give him a chance to combobulate himself and realize the error of his ways. You'll then keep the runner at 2B and he can come up with something if anyone asks him, "I thought the ball fell out of F2's glove" is probably the best one (though it sucks as an excuse).

The conference makes the appearance that you didn't override your partner's actions, but that something strange happened and you want to make sure it's handled correctly.

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If your partner signaled for the runner to go back, I am calling time and getting together with him to make sure we are on the same page. Maybe it was in fact a foul ball he is calling and not a foul tip... now if it is a foul tip, I am keeping the runner at 2nd since the PU is opening us up to a protest by improperly sending the runner back.

However, if the fan is yelling and runner on his own, or via instruction from the base coaches returns? Not my problem. I had this happen in a HS game this season... OHC came out to talk to me (I was U1)... he asked what happened, did I send his runner back? Told him no I did not and neither did the defensive players say anything to him. Runner incorrectly thought the foul tip was foul and went back on his own. Who am I to stop that?

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My partner definitely knew it was a foul tip (signaled it as such), and didn't point back to first until after the fence said something, so I assume it was just one of those "oh crap" moments. What I've gotten is that I still should've called time and gotten together with my partner, if just to save face for him.

Should I instruct R1 to stay at second before I go meet with my partner, or let him wander to wherever until we break the conference? In my head, I'm thinking "Time! Stay there" while pointing at second, then jogging in to talk to my partner. Would it be better to just call time and jog in?

 Thanks guys!

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Depends on when you notice. Immediately after PU signals it, tell her to stay there. If it's enough time that she's halfway there, then let her dawdle wherever while you talk.

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1 hour ago, Biscuit said:

My partner definitely knew it was a foul tip (signaled it as such), and didn't point back to first until after the fence said something, so I assume it was just one of those "oh crap" moments. What I've gotten is that I still should've called time and gotten together with my partner, if just to save face for him.

Should I instruct R1 to stay at second before I go meet with my partner, or let him wander to wherever until we break the conference? In my head, I'm thinking "Time! Stay there" while pointing at second, then jogging in to talk to my partner. Would it be better to just call time and jog in?

 Thanks guys!

I would call time to eliminate any confusion and to prevent the defense from throwing the ball around. "Time, stay there" is what I would say before talking to my partner. You're 95% certain the runner is going to stay at second, so I think it looks better if they're at second base the entire time rather than going back and forth. 

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From the 2016 BRD (section 542, p. 355):

Official Interpretation:  PBUC:  If a runner steps off a base as a result of the umpire’s improper call, that “is a correctable umpire’s error, and the umpire should nullify the out.”

From the 2018 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 8.5, p. 126):

Play 1:  Runner on first base is stealing with a 3-1 count on the batter. The next pitch is called ball four, but the catcher throws the ball to second base anyway, and the runner is tagged before reaching the base. Umpire erroneously calls the runner out, and the runner, believing he is out, steps off the bag and again tagged by the fielder.

Ruling 1:  The runner left second base under the assumption that the runner was out; however, the out was declared as a result of umpire error. In this situation the runner should be returned to second base. This is a correctable umpire error.

Guidelines:  When an umpire seeks help, the umpire should do so shortly after making the call. There should not be a lengthy argument with the manager that is followed by a crew conference about the call. Umpires may use their judgment to take any necessary steps to correct a play (within guidelines) following a crew consultation in which the original decision of the umpire was changed.

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